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Guns of Pop Culture: “Predator” & Billy’s Rifle/Shotgun Combo

We take a look at the action flick "Predator" and the shotgun/rifle combo wielded by Billy. Come get the deets on this cool looking gun!

I have a few favorite action flicks…I love Aliens, Terminator 1 and 2, and of course, Predator.

Predator was one of my favorite, ultra-violent VHS flicks that my parents didn’t seem to care that I was watching.

(Photo: IMDB)

It’s chock-full of awesome guns, including Ole Painless, the M60, MP5, and the subject of today’s article…Billy’s rifle.

Or should I say Billy’s rifle and shotgun? 

Predators Become Prey

Predator is an unashamed action flick. Well, in the beginning, anyway.

What I love about the film is that it’s really two different films.

The first third or so sees a CIA team made up of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, and more on a rescue mission in the jungle. 

Predator cast
Predator cast

This portion of the film offers big guns, bulging biceps, and the best guns the 1980s had to offer.

The team finds slain comrades and get their vengeance on an insurgent camp complete with Soviet advisors.

Around this time, the movie switches and the tone goes from “look at these invincible badasses who can take anyone on” to getting picked off one by one. The film shifts to a thriller with horror elements as the commandos face off with an otherworldly hunter. 

Spooky

They wield some fearsome weaponry, but it never seems like it’s enough to take on this invisible, alien hunter.

My favorite character was always Billy. He was the scout, tracker, and reportedly “Ain’t afraid of no man.” 

Billy from Predator
Billy, played by Sonny Landham

There’s Something In Those Trees

Billy and Dutch both wield M16 lookalikes in the form of Colt SP1 rifles.

The Colt SP1 was the first commercial production of the AR-15 and predated the replacement of the M14 by quite a few years.

The SP1 rifles in the film are slab-side AR-15s, which means they lack a forward assist and have a very small brass deflector. 

Colt SP1
Colt SP1

These early rifles have M16A1 birdcage flash hiders, and Billy’s features polymer handguards, fixed iron sights, a full-length stock, an under-mounted shotgun.

The use of full-length rifles is interesting. Surely as commandos in the jungle, they would know the benefits of the shorter, lighter CAR 15 rifles.

That said, it’s tough to mount a shotgun under the shorter barrel of the CAR 15. Plus, this movie is all about big dudes with big guns. 

Unlike a lot of modern AR-15s, the SP1 rifles were quite light (7-ish pounds) and very handy little rifles.

Obviously, what sets Billy’s rifle apart is the presence of an under-barrel shotgun, specifically a Mossberg 500. Why they used a Mossberg, I have no idea.

The tang safety is placed in a tough-to-reach location. 

Billy and his SP1 outfitted with a Mossberg 500
Billy and his SP1 outfitted with a Mossberg 500

This pump-action addition seems to have an 18.5-inch barrel, and it protrudes a good deal further than the barrel of the SP-1.

It has Masterkey vibes, but it’s the Dollar Store brand of the Masterkey. What we get is a weird, heavily unbalanced weapon with a shotgun that is almost impossible to utilize comfortably. 

The Jungle

So does Billy use his weapon effectively and realistically? Yes and no. Clearly, these guys are efficient as they chew through a guerilla camp with style. 

They dominate this firefight, but well, it seems like they didn’t get much firearms training — everyone just fires from the hip…sometimes at full auto. Billy does the same with his SP1. 

Billy in Predator
Does it look cool? Yes. Is it effective? Not in real life.

None of the gun handling in this film goes beyond what you’d expect from a pulpy action movie.

Hell, in one scene, we see a character shooting an MP5 with one hand and a grenade launcher with another. Billy blazes away. 

He does seem to use his shotgun twice…maybe. When they fire into the jungle randomly, Billy apparently fires a load from his shotgun if you watch closely.

Billy in Predator 2
A clearer shot of the SP1/Mossberg 500 combo

An under-barrel shotgun makes a lot more sense for breaching than fighting, and the gun really has no place in the jungle…but it is cool.

This is part of a weekly series on Pew Pew Tactical dedicated to the guns of TV and film. If you’d like more of this content, drop us a comment below. In the meantime, check out last week’s pop culture dive with “RoboCop” & the Auto 9.

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3 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Brian the Armorer

    I always love the photo of Billy and his weapon that appears just under the "The Jungle" header. A second glance at the barrel end of the SP-1 reveals the blank-firing adapter just inside the crown. These were installed to provide enough back pressure from the blank to cycle the action. Also fun to see the gas port on the bottom of many pistol magazines, indicating an airsoft model. Sometimes this can't be avoided, but for my clients the ports are covered with black gaffers tape whenever possible.

    March 25, 2022 10:17 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    D Dillon

    My favorite gun in that movie is the backpack mini gun.

    March 24, 2022 5:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Plunkett

    I guess a Turkish importer is going to be making a master key like under barrel shotgun akdas ubs for larpping. So I best see you as Billy for Halloween.

    March 24, 2022 12:37 am
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